San Francisco - Virginia City
We couldn't sleep so we decided to drive out to the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun come up. A bad idea, we thought, as we drove through foggy San Francisco and across the bridge. However, as we turned off to the parking area at the north end of the bridge, the fog cleared around us. We still couldn't see the city but the tops of the bridge towers peeked out of the fog. We then drove up to the Marin Headland Viewpoint. The view was wonderful. In the far distance we could just make out the skyscrapers.
After breakfast we started off towards Sacramento. We only glimpsed at the old historical centre of California's state capital before continuing towards South Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is an incredible blue colour. We drove around the lake in a clock-wise direction, stopping at Emerald Bay to wonder at the view of Fannette Island. The trip around the lake was weary as there was a continuous line of traffic which was very slow moving but the sights of the Lake compensated. Just over the Nevada Stateline we detoured to the Mount Rose Scenic Overlook which gives a higher viewpoint of the Lake. We passed the Ponderosa Ranch - scene of the TV series Bonanza - as it was closing for the day and headed towards Nevada's state capital, Carson City and then up into the mountains to Virginia City.
Virginia City was a major silver mining town in the 1860s and Mark Twain lived here. We stayed in the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel, one of the few hotels in the town, and ate in the Julia C. Bulette Saloon which had a live band - just the right atmosphere. In the cellar of the saloon is the Red Light Museum - a weird mixture explaining the vices of the Comstock during its height. Julia C. Bulette was a famous prostitute. As most tourists leave in the evening, the town was quite empty and you could imagine the ghosts. We were both very glad to experience this eerieness.